Meghan Markle has revealed she tragically lost her second child after suffering from a miscarriage in July this year.
The Duchess of Sussex, who shares 18-month-old son Archie with husband Prince Harry, opened up about her devastating loss in a powerful personal essay titled The Losses We Share for the New York Times.
In her first person piece, Meghan revealed she felt a "sharp camp" while changing her son's nappy on what was an ordinary, unassuming day.
"I knew, as I clutched my firstborn child, that I was losing my second," she explained.
"Hours later, I lay in a hospital bed, holding my husband's hand. I felt the clamminess of his palm and kissed his knuckles, wet from both our tears. Staring at the cold white walls, my eyes glazed over. I tried to imagine how we'd heal."
The former Suits actress went on to stress the importance of simply asking someone if they are OK, referencing the incredibly stirring moment when journalist Tom Bradby asked how she was coping in the throes of new motherhood while trying to balance her role in the public eye during her and Harry's royal tour of South Africa in 2019.
"Thank you for asking because not many people have asked if I'm OK. But it's... a very real thing to be going through behind the scenes," an emotional Meghan explained at the time, holding back tears.
Reflecting on Bradby's simple gesture, the 39-year-old explained: "I recalled a moment last year when Harry and I were finishing up a long tour in South Africa. I was exhausted. I was breastfeeding our infant son, and I was trying to keep a brave face in the very public eye. 'Are you OK?' a journalist asked me.
"I answered him honestly, not knowing that what I said would resonate with so many — new mums and older ones, and anyone who had, in their own way, been silently suffering. My off-the-cuff reply seemed to give people permission to speak their truth. But it wasn't responding honestly that helped me most, it was the question itself."
As the couple, who tied the knot in May 2018, tried to come to terms with their immeasurable loss, Meghan says she drew on this simple gesture yet again to check in with her husband.
"Sitting in a hospital bed, watching my husband's heart break as he tried to hold the shattered pieces of mine, I realised that the only way to begin to heal is to first ask, 'Are you OK?'"
The Duchess also urged others who had suffered from miscarriage or pregnancy loss to not be afraid to share their stories.
"Losing a child means carrying an almost unbearable grief, experienced by many but talked about by few. In the pain of our loss, my husband and I discovered that in a room of 100 women, 10 to 20 of them will have suffered from miscarriage. Yet despite the staggering commonality of this pain, the conversation remains taboo, riddled with (unwarranted) shame, and perpetuating a cycle of solitary mourning," she said.
Using her platform to shine a light on the many issues that have plagued 2020, the mother-of-one went on to ask if we, the world as a collective, are OK?
From the COVID-19 pandemic, to racial inequality and political unrest, this year has been like no other.
"It seems we no longer agree on what is true. We aren't just fighting over our opinions of facts; we are polarised over whether the fact is, in fact, a fact. We are at odds over whether science is real. We are at odds over whether an election has been won or lost. We are at odds over the value of compromise," she wrote.
"That polarisation, coupled with the social isolation required to fight this pandemic, has left us feeling more alone than ever."
Despite her own personal loss and the current state of the world, Meghan ended her essay on a positive note: "Are we OK? We will be," she optimistically mused.
Meghan and Harry, who are now based in Los Angeles, welcomed their son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor on May 6 2019.
Opening up about motherhood before she stepped down as a full-time working royal, Meghan admitted she was riding the highs and lows of parenthood.
"My goodness it's a lot, but it's all so exciting. There are days when it's a lot to juggle but then you meet someone and you have an impact on them and you say 'aha,' and it's so rewarding," she revealed when Archie was five months old.
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